It wasn't fancy, just effective.
Ooltewah dominated both sides of the line in the second half Friday night, battering Tyner up front to rally from a two-point halftime deficit and claim a 31-16 nondistrict football win at Tyner's Bob Evans Field.
After trailing by two points at halftime, the Owls' front seven held the Rams to no gain or minus yards on 15 of their 26 second-half snaps. Meanwhile, Ooltewah's offensive line paved the way for Desmond Pittman to run for 91 of his 173 yards in the final two quarters.
"I thought we wore them down in the second half," Owls coach Mac Bryan said. "Our front seven really wore on them. They're a good football team and they challenged us, but I like the way our kids answered and persevered.
"Having a back like Desmond does help. He's a big power back with tremendous feet and vision."
After having to begin three of its five first-half possessions inside its 20, including twice starting from its 7, Ooltewah created its own breaks to begin the second half. The Owls forced and recovered a fumble at the Rams' 28 and scored the go-ahead touchdown two plays later on Pittman's 10-yard run.
On Tyner's next possession, Ooltewah blocked a punt and Logan Turner recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown.
From there, the Owls continued to push Tyner's ground game backward. After rushing for 103 yards in the first half, the Rams were held to minus-21 on the ground in the second half.
Tyner had its chances to take control of the game early, driving each of its five first-half possessions deep into Ooltewah territory, but came away empty on the first four.
But facing fourth-and-6, with the first-half clock ticking down, Hasaan Miller dropped back, avoided the rush and then weaved his way through Owls defenders for a 15-yard touchdown run with five seconds left before halftime.
But the lead was short-lived as Ooltewah took command early and continued to pull away on the powerful legs of the 235-pound Pittman.
"Coach said at halftime that we needed to run the ball more," said Pittman, who had two TDs. "I knew what that meant, and I liked it, because I was going to get more carries. I've got a lot of confidence in my line and that we can wear people out with our size.
"We're not perfect -- we've still got work to do -- but this was a big win to come back the way we did."
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 23 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including nine in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers in the nation at the Associated ...
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